Showing posts from 2011

Cloud Computing and Data Center Predictions for 2012

Solid State Drives Go Mainstream 
The terrible flooding in Thailand has caused a shortage in hard drives. Hard drive prices have increased. I expect price increases from SAN manufactures such as NetApp, EMC, HP, and others. These shortages will also increase costs for Cloud Computing providers like Rackspace, Google, and Amazon.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, LSI CEO Abhi Talwalker said that companies are turning to solid state drives to relieve some of the hard drive back log. SanDisk, Marvell, and Micron have stated they have seen or expect to see increasing demand for SSD. InfoWorld reported on IDC market research that SSD shipments increased 66% in Q3 with the biggest advances coming from Enterprise (storage and servers) and Client (PCs). Price increases in traditional hard drives will provide a boost to solid state drive adoption rates in consumer PCs and SANs deployed in enterprise and service provider clouds. Also the increasing volume of SSD shipments will be accompan…

Cisco Overtakes HP in Data Center Market

The global data center infrastructure hit US$26.2 billion in the third quarter of 2011, with Cisco Systems overtaking HP on aggregated revenue to take pole position, according to Canalys. In a report released Wednesday, the research firm said worldwide data center infrastructure market grew 2.7 percent from US$25.5 billion in second-quarter 2011. Data center virtualization and consolidation, as part of efforts to migrate to private cloud, data center refresh and optimization project helped drive overall growth. Industry standard servers remained the biggest part of the market in the third quarter, accounting for 39 percent of total investment, followed by storage at 25 percent, and Ethernet networking at 21 percent, Canalys said.

On an annual basis, industry standard server revenue increased by about 9 percent, but the strongest growth was in server virtualization which rose by approximately 30 percent. Delvi…

Putty Beta 0.62 Released

Putty version 0.62 has been released by Simon Tatham. Putty is my favorite Telnet, SSH, Serial Terminal Emulation client.

Cisco UCS-C Servers Rack Mounting Adapter Kit

The Cisco UCS-C Series servers come with a terrific tool-less slide rail kit. The rail kit is compatible with 3/8" square hole and 1/4" round hole racks. The rail kit does not work with 2post racks and threaded hole racks.

I found two adapter kits from The Server Rack.

The Threaded Hole Rack Adapter Kit

The 2Post Rack Adapter Kit

That is all...


VMware ESXi 4.1 Optimizations for Cisco UC on UCS

In my previous post I discussed the importance of installing the latest version of VMware Tools on UC virtual servers in a Cisco UC on UCS deployment. A second and equally important VMware 'tweak' is disabling Large Receive Offload (LRO) on VMware ESXi hosts.

VMware Knowledge Base Article 1027511 addresses some Linux TCP/IP stacks perform poorly when handling LRO-generated packets. This results in poor TCP performance.

Log into the ESXi host or its vCenter with vSphere Client.Select the host > Configuration > Software:Advanced Settings.Select Net and scroll down slightly more than half way.Set the following parameters from 1 to 0:Net.VmxnetSwLROSLNet.Vmxnet3SwLRONet.Vmxnet3HwLRONet.Vmxnet2SwLRONet.Vmxnet2HwLROReboot the ESXi host to activate these changes.
Your guest VMs should now have normal TCP networking performance.

VMware Knowledge Base - KB Article 1027511
Cisco UC on UCS - Don't Forget VMware Tools


Cisco UC on UCS - Don't Forget VMware Tools

Recently we upgraded a Cisco Unified Communications system running on physical HP servers, to Cisco UCS C-Series rack mount servers. Three days after the upgrade, all of the UC applications slowed down.

When users picked up their phone handset, there was a noticeable delay before dial tone. Delayed dial tone is a classic symptom of an overworked CallManager.

The Cisco UCS C210M2 servers were more than adequate for the load. Each UCS-C210M2 hosted VMware VMs of CallManager, Unity Connection, and UCCX. All of the VMs were deployed using the Cisco prescribed OVA templates.

So what is “VMware Tools”?

According to

VMware Tools are specialized drivers for virtual hardware that is installed in the UC applications when they are running virtualized.
Now I understand Drivers. Up to date drivers are a good thing. Docwiki goes on to state:

It is very important that the VMware tools version running in the UC application be in sync with the version of ESXi being …

Touchpad Lack of Apps? I don't need no stinking apps

I have had my Touchpad for about 4 weeks. It have spent most of this time tweaking and reading books with the Kindle App. For the last year I have been debating whether to get an iPad or Android tablet or an eReader such as a Kindle or Nook.

I have an iPhone which I really like. I like the vast array of applications. My favorite and most used iPhone apps are Echofon (twitter), Google+, Evernote, SkyGrid, AP Mobile, CNBC, YouTube,, Zynga Poker, Yelp, Dropbox, USA Today, YouVersion Bible, and Amazon Kindle.

I primarily use my iPhone for, besides talking and texting, to keeping up with Twitter and Google+, news and stock information, reading books work related PDFs. I really enjoy the iPhone Kindle app. In the last year I have read about 10 books.  The screen is small and I just get into a rhythm of turning the page every 5 seconds.

So I wanted a tablet type device specifically for reading. Being stubborn and difficult, I didn't want to forego the opportunity to surf the web. I…

9/11 - My Day

9/11/2001 Started out as a normal day for me. I remember it was a beautiful day. Mid 70s and not a cloud in the sky. If things at work went well I was going to sneak out early.

I was at a customers integrating a firewall with a web content filter. I had the basics working and moved on to the more advanced parts. One of the customer's employees came into the room and announced two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. She found a TV and moved it into the conference room.

I hurried to get my work done so I could get to watching TV. I felt numb. I remembered the previous attack on the WTC. I had assumed that was an isolated incident by a few radicalized, American hating, muslims whom learned how to build a "fertilizer" bomb from the Internet.

My phone rang a couple of times. It was my wife. I was thankful she called. We shared in our shock at what was happening and exchanged "I Love You's".

Then my phone rang again. I didn't recognize the number…

Putty Version 0.61 and Putty Connection Manager

I wanted to update this post. Putty Connection Manager is no longer active.

I have switched to SuperPuTTY. It is available here SuperPuTTY. SuperPuTTy does not use "login scripts". For SSH connections you can pass username and password, however you can not do this for telnet. Here is a SuperPuTTY new session configuration using SSH and passing username and password.

I use Putty for telnet, SSH, and serial connections to. Putty is an excellent terminal program. I also use Putty Connection Manager for Tabbed windows and login scripts.

Putty Connection Manager is a Free Putty Client add-on.

Simon Tatham has released version 0.61 of Putty. Putty 0.61 can be downloaded at:

2011-07-12 PuTTY 0.61 is released
PuTTY 0.61 is out, after over four years (sorry!), with new features, bug fixes, and compatibility updates for Windows 7 and various SSH server software.These features are new i…

How I passed the CCIE R&S Lab on my 1st Attempt

I am studying for my CCIE Re-Certification. This has re-kindled my interest in many of the “CCIE Lab” study materials out in the Internet. With all of this material available, I wanted to share what I did to pass the CCIE R&S Exam.
I passed the CCIE Routing and Switching Lab 12 years ago on August 26, 1999. I took my lab exam in the beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I took my exam on a Monday and a Tuesday (yes, back then it was a 2 day exam). My wife accompanied me; we arrived on Saturday and spent a day and a half being tourists.
When people in the “know” realize I am a CCIE I am often asked, “How many attempts until you passed”. My response is “one”. I say this, not to brag, but to give some credibility to what I am sharing.
When I started to study there was no study guides. People who had taken the exam would not talk about the test, even the number of routers they saw. The big rumor was there was a major Frame-Rela…

Comcast, Skype announce partnership - Does this kill Cisco umi?

I found this article by Larry Hettick at Network World. Comcast, Skype announce partnership

Comcast and Skype announced a strategic partnership that will bring HD video calls, audio calls, and messaging to Comcast customers' television sets. The announcement was timed to coincide with the annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association's "Cable Show" held in Chicago.

Under the arrangement, Comcast subscribers will be able to connect to each other and to the global base of Skype users. Video calls from the television using Skype will be able to connect to other TVs, PCs, compatible smartphones or tablets...

The service will be delivered to the HDTV through an adapter box, and it comes with an HD video camera and microphones that sit atop the TV set, along with a specially designed remote control that combines a keyboard for texting, TV controls and audio/visual communication controls. The other calling party does not need any special equipment beyond what i…

The IT Conflict: The Network vs. Users. Part 1

We can all agree, working in IT has its challenges. A friend recently asked me "What has been the most significant challenges in IT recently?"
To that I say "how much time do you have?"
Over the years we have seen many technology innovations. Some have been business focused while others have been consumer focused. Business focused innovations improved network performance and reliability, application intelligence, business efficiencies, and security. Consumer innovations have focused on features, functionality, and ease of use. Often, consumer innovations have created headaches for the IT department.
I remember, back in the day, installing VPN servers when dial-up modems were the norm. Who would use a VPN when they could just dial in? A short time later, broadband Internet connections exploded, end user signed up like mad, and nobody wanted to access corporate resources through a dial-up modem any more. We struggled to install VPN servers with enough capacity.

As We May Think - Atlantic Mobile

Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush, 1945

As Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush has coordinated the activities of some six thousand leading American scientists in the application of science to warfare. In this significant article he holds up an incentive for scientists when the fighting has ceased. He urges that men of science should then turn to the massive task of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge. For years inventions have extended man's physical powers rather than the powers of his mind. Trip hammers that multiply the fists, microscopes that sharpen the eye, and engines of destruction and detection are new results, but not the end results, of modern science. Now, says Dr. Bush, instruments are at hand which, if properly developed, will give man access to and command over the inherited knowledge o…

My Networking, Virtualization, Storage, Wireless, et al. Google Custom Search Engine

When I started this blog it had a single purpose. I had discovered the Google Custom Search Engine and I needed a web site to host it. I had become very proficient in structuring Google search to get the results I wanted. However, was primarily limiting these searches to vendor sites.

I found Google Custom Search rand realized I needed a website to host the search engine. So I created my blog

I am now up to 107 sites indexed. I use the Google CSE, everyday, all day. I find great results in my searches without obscure, meaningless sites.

I would like to do two things. #1 invite everyone to try it out. #2 solicit from you which sites I should add.

Please try it out and give me some feedback.



Telex Radio Dispatch System Integration with Cisco Unified Communications. Part 3

A reader has asked about our progress with this and it reminded me I haven't talked about our results.

I want to just reiterate what the Telex Radio Dispatch System is.

Telex provides an integration with multiple communications systems. This is commonly used in an environment where dispatchers communicate on multiple communications systems. The Telex C-Soft console provides dispatchers a point and click interface to interact with the various communications systems. Dispatchers can increase or decrease audio volumes from a specific radio system. They can also click on a specific radio system and, through their headset, talk on a particular radio system. The Telex Radio Dispatch System also allows for a phone system integration.

For example, consider an ambulance company. Their ambulances provide services for town A, town B, town C. All these towns communicate on specific radio channels. The ambulance company has radio towers and systems that connect to each radio channel/network. …

Cisco Wireless AP - LWAPP: How to Recover an AP from Mis-Configuration

I am quickly learning Cisco Wireless. I had a problem with a Cisco LWAPP AP located at a remote office. This AP had not previously registered with a Wireless LAN Controller (WLC). We rely on the DNS discovery method where the AP boots up and does a DNS lookup for CISCO-LWAPP-CONTROLLER or CISCO-CAPWAP-CONTROLLER.

Well this is were the fun began. IP address and name-server was manually configured in the AP, but the name-server IP address was fat-fingered. The APs will save their IP and LWAPP configuration automatically. On a reboot, the AP came up with the same configuration. I was finally able to restore the configuration to factory default and have it discover and join the controller.

To do this a console connection to the AP is required. I had a user at the remote office connect a console cable to a notebook and let me RDP in..

1) I need to clear the static IP address settings, convert to DHCP, and have the AP connect to the WLC. With LWAPP/CAPWAP APs, you can't just go into the…

Who Needs English

Looks like I have encountered a licensing issue. Upgrading Unity Connection, customer is in the United States, Unity gives this error.

"The Cisco Unity Connection license file(s) that are installed do not allow you to use U.S. English for language-specific Connection features, and no other languages are installed. Do one of the following:

Download and install one or more Connection languages. Languages for your version of Connection, as well as documentation on how to install them, are available at
If you have one or more license files that allow you to use U.S. English, go to the Licensing page and install them now.
If you do not have additional license files and you want to use U.S. English, contact your Cisco account team to purchase a license upgrade that allows you to use U.S. English."

Price of an IPv4 address $11.25

Microsoft has just bought more than half a million IPv4 addresses from Nortel Networks for $7.5 million (or $11.25 per address), as part of Nortel’s bankruptcy proceedings. Internet IPv4 addresses are hard to come by these days, notes ZDNet’s Steven Vaughan, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft bought 666,624 of them as demand for Internet addresses increases.

Google Custom Search Engine - Add it to Chrome and Maybe Other Browsers

As part of this blog page, I created a Google Custom Search Engine. You can too at the Google Custom Search Engine page.. My Google CSE searches (as of tonight) 69 different web sites and domains. I have included sites relating to Cisco, HP, EMC, NetApp, and VMware. These include the vendor sites, related youtube sites, wikipedia, partner and consulting companies sites, and many blog sites. In total, 78 web sites are searched.

You can add the Google Custom Search Engine to your browser. The search URL is:

ps. for those of you who don't hear it enough...Here is the famous Cisco MoH

Virtual Desktop at My House?

As a typical geeky network engineer, I enjoy those times when the awesome technology I work with makes its way home. I remember in the late 90's introducing my wife to the joys of a dial up modem and the Internet. Years later I brought home a Linksys Wireless Router and Comcast Broadband Internet Connection. She wasn't that impressed when I said the cable Internet connection was faster than the T1 I used at work.

I need to preface this with, we have five girls, 10 months to 9yrs. They are very technologically advanced. For Christmas, the four oldest got Apple iPod iTouchs.

The girls like to use our laptops to go to and Ok, we can handle it, we have two laptops, we can all share. Oh No!!! It was World War III in our living room. Four girls, two laptops, "Daaadddd she has been playing for a long time!!"

By the time you read this, we are the proud owners of a 1/4 acre of land with a hole in it. We are building a house. My wife is doing a wonderf…

Telex Radio Dispatch System Integration with Cisco Unified Communications. Part 2

After much research, calls to our Cisco SE, a PDI case, and a conference call with Telex we have decided...

We are going to implement Telex SIP softphones on the desktops. This will provide the best solution short of rigging up some cables connecting the Cisco IP Phone headset port and auxiliary port to the Telex ADHB-4 box. Telex stated this solution has been available for five years but has only caught on in the last year.

Running this system on SIP softphones leaves me a little unsettled, I am somewhat comforted because Telex seems to be releasing updates to their software on a regular basis. This tells me they are actively fixing problems.

The main downside to this solution is the Cisco UCCX Call Center version 8.5 doesn't support 3rd party SIP phones. I can't say that I blame the UCC Business Unit since this could require testing and certifying many 3rd party SIP phones. In this testing, of course some vendors would be left out, customers would complain, and this would p…

Telex Radio Dispatch System Integration with Cisco Unified Communications. Part 1

I have Telex Radio Dispatch system I want to integrate with a Cisco phone system.

Side note: Using two Cisco UCS C-Servers with VMware. Cisco' UC on UCS. Works great!

Telex system has interfaces to the radio networks and the telephone network. 

Each user has a Telex ADHB-4.  This device mixes the audio from the different Radio networks and the telephone. Coming out of the ADHB-4 is a headset for the dispatcher. The dispatcher has a desktop application were they can select different audio sources and the ability to combine audio channels.

The interface between the phone needs audio tx and rx along with on/off hook switch and ground across 6-wires.  The box/application needs the hook switch to answer and hang up calls.

I am wondering if I can create a cable from the Phone to the Telex Device. Telex provides a basic diagram:

I would think I could get TX and RX audio and Ground from the phones headset port. I would also think I could get Hook Switch from the phones aux port (this is…

How the Internet went out in Egypt

Good Article. Egypt is just blocking access to their DNS servers. Another good reason to use Goggle's Public DNS servers:,
How the Internet went out in Egypt

4900M connection to HP Virtual Connect Flex 10 - Not Working

Update: The configuration on the HP Virtual Connect side was incorrect. Once the server team reconfigured their side, all was good. Today I am posting something I submitted to

The customer has consultants configuring the HP side of things. I was asked to configure a Catalyst 4900M to work with the HP Virtual Connect Flex-10. From the Cisco side, this is not complex.

Tomorrow I am going onsite. I will open a TAC case on the way and sit beside the server guys.

4900M connection to HP Virtual Connect Flex 10

I'm Trying to connect a HP-C7000 blade server with a Virtual Connect Flex 10 connection with 10Gb links to a Catalyst 4900M. I have no control of the HP side.

From the HP guide, we are following "HP Virtual Connect Ethernet Cookbook" "Scenario 1:5 - VLAN Tagging (802.1q) with Shared Uplink Set (SUS) with Link Aggregation using LACP (802.3ad) - VMware ESX"

On the 4900M, LLDP sees the Virtual Connect and LCAP up with 2 active links.

Show i…

Do we need spanning tree ?

I had an interesting experience last week at a customers. I happened to be onsite to discuss why 4 Catalyst 4500 chassis had failed in 6 months. Each of them had similar symptoms, packets would no longer pass through them and a "show module" would either show the modules as not present or failed.

First we need a description of how the network is designed. This network is divided into "Network A" and "Network B". The separate networks represent the "business users" and the "operations users and systems". At the core of the network they have a single Catalyst 6500 with down links to Network A and Network B Catalyst 4500 switches.

The respective Catalyst 4500s have multiple down links to their respective Network A and Network B distribution Catalyst 4500s. These Catalyst 4500s have uplinks to access-layer switches. Each wiring closet has two switches, one for each network. If it is not clear, there are NO redundant links. There should be …

Introducing BillyC5022

Welcome to my Blog
I have worked in the IT industry since 1994. I survived the Internet boom or the 90's, Y2K, the VoIP boom in the 2000's, and now I am diving headfirst into Virtualization.
I am also married to a wonderful woman and the father of 5 daughters...Ages 1, 4, 5, 6, 9.
I am CCIE 5022, Routing and Switching. I currently work on Routing & Switching, Firewalls & VPNs, Unified Communications, Data Center Architectures. I am now jumping into Virtualization with Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS), VMware, NetApp, and EMC.
Customized Search Engine for Networking and Virtualization The custom Google search engine at the top of the page has been optimized to search domains and websites related to Cisco, VMware, NetApp, and EMC. It is currently referencing 66 distinct urls including YouTube pages for Cisco, VMware, NetApp, and EMC. Many urls are for respected websites and blogs relating to this technology. If you have any suggestions for websites to be included, let me…

The Begining

I am starting this blog to share my thoughts, provide a customized search tool, and aggregate the blogs I follow. More to come.